Over the summer Tu Books sent me the ARC of Monster in the Mudball by SP Gates. In return, I promised an honest review. This is a middle grade multicultural fantasy adventure that published this month.
And it’s kind of Jin’s fault that Zilombo got loose.
Jin tracks the monster, but he can’t figure out how to get her back into the artifact from which she hatched. Then Jin meets Chief Inspector of Ancient Artifacts A. J. Zauyamakanda—Mizz Z, for short—who has arrived to inspect the artifact. She and Jin team up to find Zilombo.
Joining them is Frankie, Jin’s older sister, who has lost their baby brother—and Zilombo is the most likely culprit for his disappearance. Zilombo gains new, frightening powers every time she hatches. Now the monster is cleverer than ever before . . . and she likes to eat babies!
Will Jin’s baby brother be next on Zilombo’s menu? As the monster’s powers continue to grow, Jin, Frankie, and Mizz Z must find a way to outsmart Zilombo!
- Loved the London setting
- Mizz Z is a fun and well-drawn character.
- All the kid characters ended up with a special role to play.
- The baby brother, Smiler, was especially realistic. And because some of that realism was a bit gross, young readers will enjoy Smiler’s contributions to the story.
- Loved the mix of cultures.
- This is for the lower range of middle grade readers. My ten-year-old was excited to read it, until he began. He couldn’t get past the first chapter. It was just too young for him. (Keep in mind he has read the entire Harry Potter, Fablehaven, and Percy Jackson series, and begun the Lord of the Rings.) The younger focus meant I had a harder time getting into the story, too, but I eventually did.
- While I loved that the book was set in London, I had a hard time visualizing Jin’s London. None of the usual monuments or famous sites is part of the story.
There you have it. The Good outweighs the Not-So-Good. A-Read might be too old, but Sprout will love it.
Have you heard about this book yet? Have you read it yet?